The Complete Photo
Guide to Framing
and Displaying
500 How-to Photos

Vivian Carli Kistler

Picture framing and displaying

The author provides inspiration and helpful examples to show people how to display their artwork using basic design principles in a manner that is easily grasped.

There are important techniques to follow for success—even the basic mechanics of hanging a picture...


Inspired Interiors
Suzanne Kasler

Insoired interiors decorating

Suzanne Kasler is known for her classically inspired rooms, pretty palettes, and comfortable spaces. She brings Southern charm, European sensibility, and a respect for architectural details to her interiors...

A lot of deco ideas !


Picture Framing
and Wall Display

Sunset (Author)

Picture framing and wall display

Goog ideas and a decisive argument: almost free !!!

Click on the picture !




frames layout on the wall

How to place frames in a staircase !

Stairways layout

Placing frames in a staircase is not easy ... It's is always a problem of decoration for which the solution is not always obvious.

Inevitably there is a problem with not hanging the frames too high, with the number of frames in the layout, with their nature and their positioning relative to each other ...

Stairway arrangement

In this example cons (it not necessarily to mimic the photo to the left) the accumulation of frames creates the style and encourages those who take up the stairs to visit a more detailed prints or photos exhibited.

If you want to decorate your staircase, you'll find on this page some basic tips and rules to help you succeed in your decor. Remember that rules are made to be broken!

Photos in the stairs : Think of unity in diversity !

If there is one place in your home that you and your family pass several times each day... it is the stairways!

It is therefore the good place to hang up family photos that everyone can see and enjoy everyday!

c1902's framed embroidery

It is also the perfect place for your "collections" : old postcards or old canvas embroidered early last century...

It is better if all the frames you'll have to hang have a "common denominator". You'll get a cohesive look to your decration. Unity binds together the diverse elements and the viewer can clearly perceive your intent.

The common element that brings them together may be given by the subject (family photos, a collection of butterflies, postcards ...) or by color settings (all frames are red, for example) or by the frames shapes (rectangular, round, hearts) ...

Black and white upstairs

To avoid monotony, it's also necessary to bring diversity in your exhibition : it will be often variations in the size of the frames...

As an example, in a series of family photos (unity), there will be a mix of small and large frames, Black and White Photos next to color photos (diversity)...

In a series of black frames, there may be a variety of shapes : round or oval frames are juxtaposed rectangular frames near of heart frames...

In another way, bring some fantasy by varying the layout and breaking with traditional patterns of alignment. In the example below, the dispersal of frames around the baseline brings the fantasy that could fail in strict alignment to your arrangement : it's the rythm !

The good height to hang a frame ?

It always tends to hang too high a canvas or frame! The correct height is one that puts the center of the frame just in front of the eyes... ie approximately 1.65 m (approx 65'). It is a good average ... which corresponds to a spectator's size of 1.75 m

if you have multiple frames to hang up, by doing the following you will have all your frames centers aligned : that is a good harmony for the viewer.

Measure the height of your frame and divide it by 2 : here 27cm therefore 13.5 cm. Measure the open area between the frame top and the hook point: here 6cm.



measurements on the frame  measurements on the frame Wall measurement


Calculate : 13.5 cm - 6 cm = 7.5cm

Measure from the ground 165cm + 7.5 cm = 172.5 cm and make a mark on the wall at this point. It's exactly the place to nail the frame. The center of the art-work is 165cm from the ground.

... Repeat the same calculation for all your frames and they will be perfectly aligned by their centers!

If you prefer to place your frames with your feeling... use to determine their point of attachment the small tool described on this page.

On the stairs, the baseline ...

The most pleasing arrangement is to follow the line of the angle up the stairs and use that as your base line for your picture frames (Inspired Interiors by Suzanne Kasler). The eye perceives harmony if the centers line up, even if the tops and bottoms don’t.

mesbase line in a stairway

Above the first step on the wall, draw a mark (small pencil cross) to 1.65 m in height (measured in the middle of the step).

Now go to the last step and repeat the same operation.

You will now materialize the baseline with two pins planted at two points and a sewing thread stretched between the two pins. This line will serve you to align the center of your "top frames"

The "top frames" are generally the larger frames or even those you particularly want to highlight, your favourite frames...

Pick your favorite frames and make that they're the center of your picture arrangement.

You've now to hang your other frames around them to finish off the look. Around this line of top frames, you can place the other frames following the layout you have chosen. 


How to choose an arrangement ?

Start by determining what are your "top frames" and put them in place respecting the basic line. Do not push back too much from each other to unify your layout and give it your arrangement intent.

Mise en plfirst frame layout

You get an initial alignment parallel to the line of the stairs. Now hang additional frames trying to find a rhythm that can reconcile unity and diversity ...

second frame layout

And then, hang the last frames to obtain a balanced and pleasant to look at unit.

final stairway layout


Some tips ...

Here are 4 frames, all different to group ... and 3 possible arrangements for them. Which satisfies you most?

Comment dhow to layout frames


The #1 arrangement is not pleasing to the eye because of central vacuum it creates. In addition, the edges of frames aligned with the outside does not give an impression of unity.

The # 2 is more tempting ... The rigorous alignment is clear, almost mathematical. It would seem appropriate ... but it is sorely lacking in diversity!

This is # 3 which best reconciles the principle of diversity in unity. The horizontal lines (reassuring) are clearly identified and give a better rhythm with the central vertical line.

One last thing ... avoid placing a portrait frame (height frame ) over a landscape frame (wide frame). Your arrangement would be unbalanced.